Current State

  • The current safety net of community health centers is unprepared to handle the increased volume of individuals who will be seeking dental care as a result of health reform.
  • Individuals and families on publicly-funded care lack consistent access to oral health services.
  • The emphasis on surgical repair overshadows opportunities for prevention and disease management.
  • The lack of integration of dental care with medical care means missed opportunities for early diagnosis, prevention, education, and management of oral health as a systemic disease.


Ideal State

  • Strong, stable safety net
  • Sufficient and equitable access to multiple points of care
  • Care based on prevention and disease management
  • Oral health prevention and guidance integrated into primary care


What We're Doing

The Strengthening the Oral Health Safety Net Initiative is supporting  work in  five states to build oral health capacity in health centers under their jurisdiction through best practices, development of advocacy skills, and staff training.  Grants support primary care organizations in Arizona, California, Georgia,  Illinois, Kansas and Pennsylvania. At the national level, the DentaQuest Foundation is partnering with the National Association of Community Health Centers to make sure oral health services are an essential component of health care services across the nation's safety net.